It was while protesting troubling legislation in the Michigan Senate, standing outside our local Senator’s office carrying signs of outcry and singing songs of unity, that I first met musician Dan Deitrich. At the after-protest discussion over coffee and through our continued communication on the Internet, I came to know Dan as a person committed to his music and his personal beliefs. Those aspects come together prominently in his latest release, an EP titled “The Table.”
“I’m a Christian and I work at a church,” Dan said. “We’re known for what we’re against because of the loudest, craziest voices in the media who claim to represent all of Christianity. I’m trying to dispel some of the negative stereotypes.”
“The Table” is Deitrich’s musical message to push back against attitudes that his faith requires that everyone to fit a certain mold. As he described it, the EP is meant to communicate that “everyone is invited to the table.” He was one of many in the crowd at the protest representing a common, but often unheard belief that Christianity is meant to unify, not divide. It is through his music he hopes to continue to spread that message.
The EP was recorded in Durango, Colorado with producer Michael Rossback. Deitrich was able to fund the project using the crowdfunding tool, Kickstarter. Fans contributed money before the EP was made and received benefits for doing so. In addition to helping him with his expenses, the process also provided him a method to actively engage his audience and get them invested in the project.
“It can be an awkward thing,” Dan said. “On one hand, you’re asking people for money. But the way I chose to look at it is that you’re inviting people into the process of making the album.”
During recording, his supporters received regular updates about the behind-the-scenes work. Some contributors were even invited to sing back-up vocals on the album.
“I really enjoyed the process,” he said. “It gets people involved, gets people excited about it.”
“The Table” was born out of a deliberate plan. With three children and a full time job, Dan would often find it difficult to balance creativity with every day life. He had a moment where he realized he had not written a song for an extended period of time, so he set the goal to write a specific number of songs. Once written, he declared his intent to himself and to the world to record them the following year. Even the choice to record in Colorado was deliberate, knowing he had to set the time aside and step away from daily life so he could complete the project.
He found collaboration, both in the interaction with his fans on Kickstarter and with Rossback during recording. He described the “magic” of the studio process and the benefit of working with another person while recording.
“My last album was just me in a studio late at night,” he said. “It was nice to have someone else in the studio who’s passionate about the songs and has ideas about the songs.”
The process created an excellent rock EP with a message universal to Christians and non-Christians alike.
“I’m thrilled with how it turned out,” he said.
Currently, Dan is out promoting “The Table” with local concerts, including a show as The Livery in Benton Harbor on July 14th. You can find information on more shows and and hear the EP in it’s entirety by visiting dandeitrich.com.
These piece created in part for Justin’s weekly column in Off The Water.